Traveling From Lusaka To Livingstone In Zambia

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When I first stepped off the plane in Lusaka, I was greeted with a cool gust of wind, free of the oppressive and constant heat and humidity in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, where I have been living the past six months. I immediately knew I was going to enjoy this country.

Driving around Lusaka, I noticed the air smelled cleaner, the clattering racket of traffic was actually contained, and I didn’t feel overwhelmed by massive crowds. While all these facts are great assets, I quickly realized one small issue: there wasn’t much to do in Lusaka.

Luckily I had only reserved one day of being in Zambia’s official capital city before heading down to Zambia’s adventure capital, Livingstone. It’s home to Victoria Falls, a Natural Wonder of the world, and has a plethora of outdoor activities to choose from. I feel slightly guilty bashing on Lusaka, but my advice is head south to Livingstone as soon as you can, and here’s how.

By Air

Proflight is the main airline used for flights within Zambia. You can find flights for 634 Kwacha, or $97, for one way. A great perk is that you’re allowed to check two bags totaling under 23 kilos, or 50 pounds, for free! However, the general consensus is that unless you book way in advance it can be way too pricey, and the planes are on the small side. The upside is it takes an hour and ten minutes to fly there, as opposed to 6+ hours, and the planes are normally more reliable.

By Train

The Zambezi Express leaves Lusaka on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays at 7:30 pm and arrives in Livingstone around 10.5 hours later. It costs about $10. Even though it takes a lot longer than a bus, you get a bed and you’ll most likely have a car to yourself since everyone else takes the bus. If you have time to spare, the train is a good option that allows you to see the countryside.

By Bus

There are three reliable bus services that you can use: Mazhandu, Shalom, and Mahogany. Roads are paved and in great condition, making this option attractive. You can’t reserve tickets ahead of time, so you must go to the bus station in Lusaka. It’s possible to buy tickets the day of your intended departure, but the safest bet is to buy them at least a day ahead of time. One way tickets are 112 kwacha, or $17. The first bus leaves at 6 am, and then around every hour after that until 2 pm. There are also two night buses leaving at 8 and 10:30 pm (subject to slight change, but they should be dependable.) The journey should take around 6 hours, but can sometimes be delayed due to breakdowns and accidents.

Conditions are a bit cramped, but relatively clean and comfortable. You can check large bags underneath the bus and keep smaller ones in an overhead shelf. There aren’t any bathrooms, but the driver makes frequent stops so it isn’t much of an issue. The biggest issue was the blaring African and Christian music the driver played at all times, but the other Zambians didn’t seem to mind.

Be mindful of people bombarding you at the bus station and offering to help you buy tickets. They will most likely rip you off. Go directly to the bus stand of your choice and buy tickets there. Mostly everyone speaks excellent English in Zambia.

When choosing a destination for your African adventure, be sure to consider the lush and clean Zambia, and especially adventuresome Livingstone!

 

Have you been and which way did you choose to arrive to Livingstone?

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About Author

My name is Mandi and I have a gypsy soul. I quickly realized the normal, sedentary life just wasn't for me, so I've made it my life's ambition to never stop exploring. This decision has led me to study, volunteer, intern, work, backpack and travel all over the world, including Rome, London, Costa Rica, India, Southeast Asia, Montana, and San Diego. Now I'm living and always writing in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Keep track of where I go next via thislimitlessworld.com and @1LimitlessWorld.

6 Comments

  1. Thank you for you post. I am travelling alone to Zambia next week and have a very cramped schedule.

    I am going from Lusaka to Livingstone for a day and was wondering if you would advice me to take the overnight bus. Is it safe for women to travel over night by these buses?

    Look forward to your response.
    Regards
    Noopur Desai

    • I’ve heard that the Lusaka station can be pretty dangerous at night. I would advise taking the bus during the day, if you can. Mandi, do you have any advice?

  2. Hey Mandi, I am currently living in Dar for the last 8 months as well and heading to Vic Falls for Easter, thanks for the info! Seems we are very similar in backgrounds and travel experiences, would love to grab a drink in Dar if you’re around!

  3. Mimmi Murtomäki on

    Hey,
    Thx for the good advices. I am going on april to zambia. Actually we already booked flight to lusaka and we are going to stary there with my boyfriend for three nights. Now I noticed that victoria falls is in livingstone. Now I am so nervous that what sould we do and we have tight budget. Is its clever to do a day trip to livingstone to see the victoria falls and I was also interested about the lion walk or elephant walk, did u do that? Hey by the way, did it paid something to see the victoria falls?

  4. Helena van Wyk on

    I want information about the train going from Livingstone to Lusaka. Do you think to old persons in their 70 can do it. We love Africa and are used to travel from SA to Lusaka by bus.

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